Brad Pitt, Jessica Chastain going supporting for 'Tree of Life' |

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Brad Pitt and Jessica Chastain to be campaigned in supporting categories for 'The Tree of Life'

(Merie Wallace)

It’s not a huge surprise, but today comes word from Fox Searchlight that the entire cast of The Tree of Life – notably Brad Pitt and Jessica Chastain – will be campaigned in the supporting categories this awards season. It’s a strategy that’s been used for several ensemble films in the recent past, like Babel and Slumdog Millionaire. (Babel’s Adriana Barraza and Rinko Kikuchi ended up scoring Oscar nominations for Best Supporting Actress, while Slumdog’s Dev Patel earned a SAG nod in the supporting-male race.)

For Pitt, the move heads off any potential vote splitting between his performances in Tree of Life and Moneyball, since the latter is clearly a lead role. But for Chastain, it’s muddier: The actress, who’ll end up costarring in six films released in 2011, will now be the recipient of supporting campaigns for Tree and The Help, just for starters.

Clearly Searchlight is going with a “the movie is the star” approach with its Tree of Life campaign, a decision that will put the spotlight on reclusive director Terrence Malick. And hey, maybe the dinosaurs were the leads.

Dave on Twitter: @davekarger

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